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Brittany Black- Director

Brittany Black is a dancer, dance educator and choreographer currently serving as Director and Owner of Emerge Dance Academy.

As a dancer, she has extensive and varied training in Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Lyrical and Musical Theatre and was also trained professionally for her voice. Brittany has performed as an independent artist and also works as a freelance guest teacher, adjudicator, and choreographer. Her innovative choreography has been seen in many performances and events including a production of the Musical “Hairspray.” She continues to train and keep up-to-date by taking classes at Edge PAC, Harbour Dance Centre and attending workshops/conventions like the Dance Teacher’s Summit with some incredible creators in the industry.

In addition to her dance training Brittany was an English major who also studied Modern Dance at the U of A and completed a Diploma from the Northern Alberta Institute for Technology in Television Broadcasting. Brittany spent many years as a video editor and producer and still works as a freelance producer for Hoopla Media in Edmonton.

Since 2013, she has enjoyed working on the Emerge business side as well as teaching. Brittany believes that her love of dance, her education and her experience in the production industry has given her a unique and creative sounding board for her ever-growing journey in entrepreneurship. She has enjoyed creating an environment for dancers that is safe to grow in, unique in both choreography and music, varied in educators and mentors and most of all…a positive community.

Sharing the love, art and freedom of movement in dance with students and colleagues is extremely important to her. She finds great joy in continuing to watch Emerge students’ progress each year and share their achievements: in classes, exams and especially… on stage!

Josephine Cavaco- Ballet & Modern

Josephine, who hails from Montreal, developed a passion for dance very early. At the age of 3, she began her training at Le Centre d'Art de Natasha under ballet Mistress Marie Cote, a retired National Ballet company member. 

Her training in ballet and modern lead her to join the professional program at L'ecole Superiuere de la Dance du Quebec. She continued her training in ballet, modern and character dance for the next 6 years under Susanne Toumine and Wendy Wright. Josephine's devotion and love of dance led her to join Les Grande Ballet Canadiens at the early age of 16. She has performed various roles in ballets such as the Nutcracker, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Raymonda, Coppelia and Swan Lake. Josephine is a performer, teacher and choreographer who holds her Associates in the Cecchetti Ballet teaching method.

Barb Vargas - Tap 

Versatile dancer and educator, Barbara Vargas, perused a Diploma in Music, using her shoes as her major instrument at Vancouver Community College. Her wide variety of musical knowledge and performance experience locally and internationally allows her to jump into many different types of projects. Most recently her credits include: Young Frankenstien, For the arms that have held me, Swing Showcase, and playing a sold out show with Generations at Edmonton’s Jazz fest. 

Barbara holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta as well as training through International Internships in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. Barbara was for years a leader in the Edmonton-area and Vancouver Tap dance community. She has recently relocated to Edmonton as an Instructor at McEwan University. 

She looks forward to joining the Emerge team and sharing her love for Tap dance. 

“Basically tap is about love. It is about your love for music, your love for dance, and how much you enjoy doing it, and inspiring others to enjoy life"

- Jason Samuels Smith

Katie Workun- Ballet 

(Mini-Merger, Primary and Grade 1 Ballet Program) 

Katie Began her dance training at the age of five with Volya, a Ukrainian dance school and Company located in Edmonton. She became interested in other forms of dance and was soon also training in Ballet(RAD and Cecchetti, Jazz, Lyrical, Tap and Hip Hop. Katie trained at Dance Alberta, Powerhouse Dance and Emerge Dance Academy.

She traveled to Las Vegas to attend workshops and compete in West Coast Dance Explosion. She also performed with Fused in Disneyland. Katie has also had the opportunity to travel and perform with Voyla in Columbia and Croatia.

Katie found a passion for teaching and choreography at Victoria School of the Arts where she was a student in the International Baccalaureate Composition program.

Leyla Yasa- Hip Hop, Jazz, Tap  

Leyla is a well rounded and energetic hip hop, jazz and tap teacher here at Emerge. Leyla began dancing at the age of 6 and has trained in ballet, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, modern, tap and contemporary. She has traveled to LA- to take classes at the Edge, Disneyland -to perform and to Las Vegas- to attend workshops at West Coast Dance Explosion. Leyla has trained and assisted at Dance Alberta and Emerge Dance Academy. She was also a part of Emerge's company team, Fused. 

Dance is Leyla's biggest passion and she loves sharing the beauty and meaning behind all dance forms. 

Ruth- Studio Greeter

Ruth is Emerge's official studio dog! She loves greeting dancers at the door and is always "hounding" them for treats and belly rubs. Her favourite type of dance is "paw-de-deux" and she is always reminding dancers to hold their "pawsture."

Ruth has been dancing at Emerge since she was 3 months old! Her special moves include sitting, speaking, rolling over and shaking hands. She is often found sleeping at the front of the classroom or following her favourite students around the studio, hoping someone will throw her ball. She is sweet and goofy and looks forward to greeting you! 


Brittney began her dance training in Calgary Alberta. Her training in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, Lyrical, Hip Hop, and Modern haas taken her around the world performing with The Calgary Dance Express. In 2003 Brittney represented Canada in both Jazz and Tap at the Worlds in Riesa, Germany. She has also had the pleasure to be part of the hugely successful Tap Company M.A.D.D. Rhythms. In 2006 she moved to Los Angeles to pursue her love of dance and further her training, while attending classes at Millennium Dance Complex and The Edge. Brittney was a part of Sara Dolan's contemporary company O2 Dance. She performed with O2 for 2 years, performing in they’re sold out show; I.M The Seasons Of Love.

She has also danced for musical artists Michale Fitzgerald, Bif Naked, Narai Dawn, Jess Cullen and many more. Brittney currently resides in Calgary teaching workshops and masterclasses for various studios. She is also sought out as a choreographer, guest teacher, and adjudicator throughout Alberta and British Columbia. Her recent performances as a principal dancer include: Lovers of Marley, Lovers of Queen and Sweet Moves.

Brittney has had a busy year dancing in videos for musical artist Narai Dawn. She danced in the extremely successful fundraiser for St. Paul's mental health ward "Brilliant". As well as performed in the sold out show run of Dances for a Small Stage 35 ~ Valentines Edition, and more recently choreographed and performed a piece for the university of Calgary’s Arch Awards as well as a music video for Alberta's own Gord Bamford.